Zebra Cake

I know, I know…I’ve been MIA for about a month in a half now.  Not okay.  My excuse being since September 25, I’ve been in Kentucky looking for jobs (which I actually found, but more on that later!) so I haven’t been in the kitchen as much as usual.  Plus, I may or may not have lost the chord to my camera, so that’s my other excuse for the posting draught.  In other news though, remember that cake contest I entered Savannah’s cake in?  Well, it turns out I got runner-up out of 12,000 entries!  So that is pretty exciting…thanks again to all who voted!  I’m still pretty surprised myself to actually win anything.  As an apology for my lack of blog-updatingness though, here is a fun recipe I discovered while back home in the Bluegrass state.  It’s called a zebra cake and might be one of the neatest looking, and most easily assembled, cakes I’ve come across in a long time.  Here is the basic white cake recipe I used:

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

You know the drill:  sift together the dry ingredients in your mixing bowl and set aside.  Add all the wet ingredients together in a separate bowl and whisk together.  Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until blended.  That’s it!  This will make about enough for a dozen cupcakes or one 9 inch cake btw.  Once you have gotten to this point, divide your batter in half and to one half add either cocoa powder or food coloring, whichever you like.  (I added about 20 drops of black food coloring to this particular cake.)  Now comes the fun part!  In a greased and buttered 9 inch cake pan, and using a 1/4 measuring cup, alternate adding the white and colored batter in the center of the pan, one directly on top of the other.  Once you have done this for a while, your cake should start to look a little something like this as it spreads out…

When you’re to the point that your pan is about 3/4 full, place in a preheated 325 degree oven for 45 minutes, or until done.  Let cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.  At this point it’s up to you how you want to decorate it, but I just used some powdered sugar since it was only one layer…I have a pet peeve with iced one layer cakes.  That’s all there is to the zebra cake!  🙂

Posted in cakes, kid-friendly | 3 Comments

I need your help!

So, I entered the “Savannah” and “Starbucks” cakes in a photo contest.  I would love you forever if you would help me out by voting for them (if you want):

Savannah’s Cake — click here to vote!

Starbucks Cake — click here to vote!


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The World’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

Well, it’s another 90 degree September day in Northern Alabama and that can only mean one thing…Fall is right around the corner!  Growing up in Kentucky, Fall was always my favorite season, hands down, because of the crisp, cool air, the stunning colors of the leaves (pictures in the Lexington Cemetery anyone?), and the fact that sweatshirts could be worn 24/7.  I’m learning that it’s a little different here in Alabama though…the weather is considerably warmer than I’m used to and Crimson Tide football is the state religion right now, so it makes it a little harder to feel “Fall-ish” in the sense that I know it.  In fact, sometimes I miss Fall in Kentucky so much that I find myself burning an apple cider candle and turning the thermostat down to 67 just to make it feel like “home”.  Incredibly lame, I know.  But with all this Autumn-filled inspiration I have been wanting to make something fitting of the Alabama version of the season.  No, I’m not talking about anything with the words ‘pumpkin,’ ‘cider,’ or ‘spice,’ (there will be plenty of those to come soon, believe me) but rather something a little out of the box for this time of year, just like Fall in Alabama is to me.  That’s right, I’m talking about none other than every American child’s favorite…chocolate chip cookies!  I know they normally associated with Autumn icons like pumpkin pie, apples, or cinnamon, but oh well.  To me, Fall is heartwarming, cozy, and familiar and that is exactly what chocolate chip cookies represent too.

It’s confession time though…I seriously debated posting this recipe on here because I love it just THAT much, but I thought it would be wrong to keep it to myself.  Share the wealth, right?  This is a recipe that is no stranger to the world of food blogs, but I have adapted it just a little here and there to make it my own.  These chocolate chip cookies are thick, chewy, and wonderful with a glass of cold milk. (PS–If you’ve ever had Nestle Tollhouse cookies, you will find these are strikingly similar in flavor to the “real thing” too.)  So, without further ado, here she is.  I only have one request if you do decide to make these little guys though…just put some love into them :).  Happy baking!

  • 2 cups AP flour + 2 tbsp.
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 12 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and then cooled until just warm
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Make sure your rack is in the middle.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda.  Set aside.
  3. In an electric mixer, add the sugars and blend together.  Add melted butter and mix thoroughly.
  4. To the sugar mixture, add the egg, yolk, and vanilla.  Mix until combined.
  5. Add in the dry ingredients, making sure your mixer is on a low speed, and mix until just combined.  (Don’t overmix on this step!)
  6. Fold in the chocolate chips to the cookie dough by hand.
  7. Roll a scant 1/2 cup of dough into a ball with both hands and then pull apart into two equal halves, rotate 90 degrees, and place on a prepared baking sheet with the jagged surfaces facing up.  (The amount will seem like a lot, but trust me, you want them this big…just make sure to leave a lot of room!)
  8. Bake for 11-13 minutes, or until they are golden around the edges but still puffy in the middle, rotating halfway through.
  9. Let cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Posted in chocolate, classic, cookies | 8 Comments

Easy Orange Cake

Easy as…cake?  This recipe will make you think so!  I got this idea off of an Australian baking blog I follow and I couldn’t wait to try it out!  The recipe was in metric form originally, since 98% of the world uses it and all, so learning to convert it into US measurements was quite an adventure!  I guess it will be pretty helpful though in the long run.  Anyway, this cake is exploding with orange flavor!  I love that it utilizes every part of the star ingredient…the humble orange (except for the seeds and pulp)…because it makes you feel like you are really being resourceful :).  I also candied the extra orange rind (which I didn’t julianne thin enough) in a simple syrup and tossed it in castor sugar for a fun final touch.  You should probably expect to drool for the hour and twenty minutes this cake is in the oven too, because it smells like you’re baking a dreamsicle.  Well, that’s it for me!  Happy baking everyone!

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 baking soda
  • 3 eggs
  • 1.5 cups castor sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, cubed
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • Finely grated zest of 3 oranges
  • 3 tbsp orange extract (optional)
  • Juice of 3 oranges
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Butter and flour a bundt pan.  Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking soda.  Set aside.
  3. The bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter.  Slowly add sugar and mix until combined.  Add eggs, one at a time and mix until smooth.
  4. Add buttermilk, juice, and zest.
  5. Add dry ingredients, little by little, to wet ingredients and mix until just combined.  Be careful not to overmix the batter at this point.
  6. Pour into bundt pan and smooth top of batter with a spatula.  Bake for about 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

For the orange glaze:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 tbsp. orange juice
  • Zest from 1 orange
  1. Combine all three ingredients with a whisk, add more or less until a runny consistency is reached.  Pour over cake and let set.  (I did this step 3 times to have a layered look.)

Posted in cakes, fruit | 2 Comments

UK Cake

Well, this obviously isn’t the best looking cake in the world, but I learned a lot from this one.  This was my first time making a cake with:

  • Entirely buttercream
  • Piping

Even though it isn’t the prettiest of things, it was a great Saturday afternoon baking project.  I tried out a new cake batter which sounded promising (it involved using Ghiradelli chocolate!), but unfortunately, it was much like a politician…promising much and delivering little (what?!).  The cake itself was a chocolate fudge cake with raspberry filling and vanilla buttercream.  I found the cake recipe to be a bit too thin and it was actually TOO moist, which is something you won’t often hear me talk about.  But hey, at least my wildcat’s won today, even if my UK cake didn’t!  Anyway, feel free to have a go at it yourself and let me know what you think.  Happy baking!

  • 1 c. butter, softened
  • 8 oz. dark chocolate, 70% cocoa or more
  • 6 tsp. instant coffee
  • 2/3 c. water
  • 1/2 c. self-rising flour*
  • 1/2 c. all-purpose flour*
  • 4 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 c. caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 7 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 1/2 c. sour cream

*If you don’t have self-rising flour, you can substitute 1 cup cake flour in place of the self-rising and all-purpose flours.

  1. Preheat oven to 315 degrees.
  2. Melt butter, coffee, water, and chocolate in a pan over low heat.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flours, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.  Add sugar to flour mixture.
  4. In another bowl, combine the eggs, oil, and sour cream.  Whisk until combined.
  5. Combine the chocolate and egg mixes.  Pour into dry ingredients, mixing until just combined.  (The batter will be quite watery at first.)
  6. Pour into two greased/floured 8 inch cake pans.  Bake for 45 minutes-1 hour, or until done.  Wait 10 minutes before turning out onto rack.
Posted in cakes, chocolate | 2 Comments

Death By Chocolate

Have you ever been at a picnic or a potluck and just couldn’t decide between the cupcakes or a chocolate chip cookie?  Well, if so, today is your lucky day because they have joined forces to create what I like to call (drumroll please)…Death By Chocolate.  Yes, that’s right, that is double chocolate chip cookie dough inside of a devil’s food cupcake, topped off with milk chocolate buttercream.  What the what?!

For cookie dough:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 tsp. milk
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  1. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, and salt together.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugars until fluffy (about 3 minutes).
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.  Add vanilla.
  4. Mix in the dry ingredients into the wet, being careful not to overmix.
  5. Add the chocolate chips and fold into the batter.
  6. Form 1 inch balls and place on cookie sheet.  Freeze for (at least) two hours.

For the cupcakes:  (I totally cheated on this one…shhh!)

  • 2 boxes Devil’s Food cake mix, sifted
  • 1 packet instant chocolate pudding
  • 2 2/3 cups water
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 eggs
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat eggs together.
  2. Add cake mixes, flour, water, and oil.
  3. Mix until just combined.
  4. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full.  Add the frozen cookie dough on top (don’t press it down).
  5. Bake for 16 minutes on 350.  Be careful not to over bake them, or you will end with a very dry center.  Let cool on wire rack for 10 minutes before removing them from the pan.

For the frosting:

Using the basic buttercream frosting recipe, add 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder.

Here’s some oven action…

…and don’t worry, there aren’t any calories in this recipe. 🙂  Happy baking!

Posted in chocolate, cookies, cupcakes | 1 Comment

Buttercream Frosting

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp. milk
  1. In an electric mixer, cream the shortening and butter together.  Add vanilla.  Slowly add powdered sugar in cupfuls, combining well after each and scraping the sides of the bowl often.  Finish with milk and stir until just combined.  Makes about 3 cups.
Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments